It’s really quite miraculous that Glenn Greenwald hasn’t met with an unfortunate and plausibly-deniable accident. The nuggets he’s parceling out are rife with the potential to embarrass, or, even worse, rile people up about what their government is actually doing.
The recent revelation that the NSA has been bugging U.S.-export network hardware isn’t especially surprising. Given how loudly the U.S. has been warning people about the possibility of Chinese firms ZTE and Huwei doing the same thing, it would have been naive to assume that the NSA didn’t have the same capability.
I do find it a little disturbing that Greenwald says that the NSA has been “receiving or intercepting” this hardware, which gives the impression that there are manufacturers who are directly supporting this spying. It’s not shocking, but it still makes me a little uneasy.
Of course, if this is being done with export hardware, why, exactly, would anyone assume the same isn’t being done with the domestic machines? The only reason I can imagine that it wouldn’t* is that the domestic networks are already so thoroughly compromised that there’s not need to plant physical bugs on the routers sold in the U.S.
Then again, if one of the reasons that they don’t want people to buy routers from the Chinese is that that they’re concerned about people replacing NSA-compromised hardware….
* Well, I guess another reason is “it’s really effing illegal”, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent these days.